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TV Reviews : 'Susan' Celebrates the Right to Vote With Women of Note

August 26, 1995|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Only 75 years ago, after decades of bitter struggle, women finally won the right to vote. Today only a minority of Americans, men and women, choose to exercise their voting rights. That fact gives "Susan B. Anthony Slept Here," tonight's chirpy celebration of the passing of the 19th Amendment, an ironic resonance.

"20/20" reporter Lynn Sherr hosts the show, which is based on the book she co-wrote with Jurate Kazickas. Sherr introduces segments with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Olympian and ABC sportscaster Donna de Varona, actress Blair Brown and astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, each of whom profile notable women.

With film footage, photographs, on-site visits and comments from descendants, relatives and historians, the show skims through the lives of Georgia O'Keeffe, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Annie Oakley, Bessie Smith, Christa McAuliffe and Madame C. J. Walker, the first African American female millionaire.

It very briefly touches on other women of note, such as Louisa May Alcott, Amelia Earhart and Harriet Tubman.

Mrs. Clinton weights her segment about the great suffragist Susan B. Anthony with a strong statement encouraging voting and talks about her identification with Eleanor Roosevelt, another First Lady who earned both admiration and hostility.

The show's delivery is an awkward mix of adult substance and wide-eyed cheerleading, but it is refreshing to see even a bit of history's "herstory."

* "Susan B. Anthony Slept Here" airs at 10 tonight on ABC (Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42).

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